DAVAO

American gets 14 years for online abuse of kids

A 79-YEAR-OLD former police officer from California has been sentenced to 14 years and five months in prison in the US for abusing children in the Philippines and producing images of children being sexually abused.

Michael Bruce McDonald, of Huntington Beach, California, moved to the Philippines in 2009 and married a Filipino woman.

His wife’s three nieces, all under 10 years of age, moved in with them.

McDonald produced sexually explicit photos of the children and one of their friends.

He sexually abused two of the children and posted the images online, according to a US Department of Justice press release shared on September 19, 2019.

Acting on a case referral from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation - Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-Ahtrad) carried out an operation in Davao City on March 29, 2016.

This led to McDonald’s arrest and the rescue of three girls, aged 9, 10 and 13 at the time. Because criminal charges had already been filed and were pending against McDonald in the U.S., he was deported to face those charges.

Otherwise, he would have been prosecuted in the Philippines like other offenders.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and International Justice Mission (IJM) supported the operation and the rehabilitation of the survivors of online sexual exploitation.

"This prison sentence provides justice for the three Filipino child survivors of this American sex offender and protects other children from being abused by him again. On behalf of all those still exploited in OSEC (online sexual exploitation of children), IJM calls for stronger sentences globally against offenders who repeatedly create the demand for child sexual abuse materials, which include rape and torture," lawyer John Tanagho, IJM Cebu Field Office director, said.

“Moreover, for police to stop the ongoing abuse of even more children, the global community must decide that protecting children from online sexual abuse and exploitation should never take a backseat to data privacy (e.g. encryption),” Tanagho added. (PR)


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